IFRS And Upstream Oil

Following some work for a client in oil field services around the most appropriate ERP solution, I’ve had some questions about the impact of IFRS on accounting for exploration and evaluation (E&E). In a nutshell, IFRS offers some opportunities for energy firms or joint ventures to capitalize E&E costs that they might have expensed under previous local or US GAAP policies.

Accounting policy analysts will doubtless tell you that, in terms of record-to-report processes, you’ve got to be sure to work out how to match each expense element to commercially viable reserves on a field-by-field basis. Unmatched costs have to be expensed. This can be quite challenging, especially for infrastructure or services shared across fields. The challenge is particularly acute when exploration is undertaken as a joint venture or where firms trade exploration blocks.

Forrester undertook some work for a European hydrocarbon firm that was involved in numerous joint ventures and which had a high level of activity in trading exploration blocks. We leveraged this research and found that meeting the firm’s business needs required the CIO to be involved early on in preparing for M&A activity.